CITROEN’S eye-catching worldwide best-seller, the C3, brought some much-need flair to the hatchback market. And now it is time for it to shine.

Having given the C3 the brand’s latest front-end styling, updated interiors and more efficient petrol and diesel engines, Citroen has decided that new trim levels are in order. Hence, we will see Sense, Shine and Shine-Plus versions rather than the Feel, Flair and Flair-Plus specifications.

It’s all part of Citroen’s updating of this evergreen hatchback that has always appealed to those looking for something a little different. Or maybe I should say a lot different. It is the company’s most customisable hatchback, with up to 97 different exterior combinations alone.

That exterior includes the revised front-end, LED lighting at the front, new 17-inch alloy wheels and fresh designs for the Airbump padding on the sides.

Measuring 3.99m long, 1.75m wide and 1.47m tall, the C3 is probably the most stylish hatchback money can buy. You will certainly need to allow more time to consider how you want your C3 to look before you consider engine choice.

There’s even a choice of coordinated colour packs centred around four bi-tone roof colours, never mind new body colours, interior ambiances and roof décor graphics. Even the Airbump panels now get a colourful insert.

Get past the window dressing and you find a wealth of standard equipment that includes 3D rear lights, a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic air conditioning, cruise control and speed limiter, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition and recommendation and even a nudge when it’s time to take a coffee break.

Flair models add diamond-cut 16-inch alloy wheels, bi-tone roof and colour coordinated door mirrors, automatic headlights and rear parking sensors.

The range-topping ‘Flair Plus’ trim gets 17-inch alloys, satellite navigation, advanced comfort seats, intelligent beam headlights and a reversing camera.

The interior of New C3 comes with new materials and features too, but the emphasis is on comfort. Special foam on the surface of each seat is coupled with thick fabric for unrivalled softness.

Drivers have a choice of two petrol offerings and a 1.6-litre diesel engine. The petrol units are 1.2-litre three-cylinder Pure Tech engines with outputs of either 83 or 110 PS.

The less powerful petrol version tested here delivers fuel economy nudging past 50mpg and is probably the right choice if your motoring is mostly in urban environs.

It is accompanied by the tell-tale thrum of a three-cylinder engine and is certainly in the business of providing steady progress rather than thrills. You might want to compare it with the more powerful option.

Start-up is a little noisy but the engine soon settles to provide a relatively hushed accompaniment.

Yes, it is a little sluggish, and you might prefer a ride quality with more firmness, but the C3 makes a good stab at providing a very civilised and enjoyable drive, accompanied by a good amount of tech.

It comes as no surprise that the armchair-like experience of sitting behind the wheel means a trade-off when tackling country roads. The light steering and soft suspension is geared towards city driving, and that’s where the C3 feels most at home.

On a practical note, the 300-litre boot holds a decent amount of luggage and there’s plenty of space for front and rear occupants.

If you are looking for a hatchback that brings style, economy and comfort all under one roof, then the charming C3 might be the answer. Let it shine.


Citroen C3 Flair PureTech 83

Price: £16,360 (range from £15,310)

Engine: Three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol producing 83PS

Transmission: Five-speed manual driving front wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 12.8 seconds; top speed 107mph

Economy: 51.3mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 123g/km


Performance: ***

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ***

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ***

Value For Money: ****